AustCham calls for same sex spousal visas to build Hong Kong capability

More than a dozen large banks and law firms from the U.S., Europe and Asia are joining forces on behalf of a British lesbian in a landmark case for LGBT rights in Hong Kong.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Credit Suisse Group AG and Nomura Holdings Inc. are among 15 financial institutions that have filed an application to intervene in the case of a woman -- named in court documents as QT -- who sued after the government rejected her application to reside in Hong Kong as a dependent of her same-sex partner.

Hong Kong’s highest court is now considering an appeal filed by the government after a court ruled in favor of QT in September.

The banks and law firms believe “the appeal has no merit, or is based on an unequal treatment that discriminates against same-sex partners,” said B. Chen Zhu, a Hong Kong-based counsel at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, acting pro bono on their behalf. “They all want to express their support for equal treatment for LGBT immigrants.”

The intervention comes as foreign chambers of commerce have lobbied Hong Kong’s government to accommodate the spouses of expatriate gay staff in order to maintain its position as Asia’s top financial bub. Hong Kong, which doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages, in 2016 started allowing same-sex spouses or civil partners of consular officials to stay in the city.

“It’s a challenge for some of our members who want to bring senior staff to Hong Kong but can’t because they are in same-sex relationships,” Jacinta Reddan, chief executive officer of the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and Macau, said Thursday.

Read more at Bloomberg